How does the Ramban explain the miracles of the Torah?

Jewish Link – One of the most complex and controversial issues of any belief is that of miracles; it is so because it completely breaks human logic. We are used to seeing the world under the nature that forms it and the miracle itself is the alteration or rupture of that nature. The Torah narratives are filled with miraculous events, from the birth of Isaac from the womb of a ninety-year-old woman, to the parting of the Red Sea. Within the Jewish context, they become very interesting events, because beyond their beauty, far from being read as a fantasy or legend, we see them as historical events that show the participation of Divinity in the everyday world. The rabbis, more than wondering about how they happened, talk about the teachings that these events bring to man, and what they tell us about the interaction between G-d and the world. Finally, the miracle is the most vivid testimony of the existence of a Divinity, that nature is managed by a force foreign to itself. It is in itself the experience of the divine, or the eternal in the material.

Many urge us not to openly seek them out or lean our faith on them, yet they remain an essential part of the biblical account and as such deserve extensive explanation. The next class of Rabbi Aryeh Leibowitz He talks about how the Ramban sees miracles and the interrelation that they themselves keep within our prayers. He even highlights the statement that everyone who prays believes in miracles, and that everything that happens in the world is a miracle; in various ways he goes about explaining the implications of both claims, and explaining the nature of miracles.

The G-d of nature

The miracle in Hebrew is called nes, this means “sign” or “sign” in reality the miracle is any expression of the existence of a God. The Ramban distinguishes between two different types of miracles: those that exist without breaking the nature of the world and the natural functioning of things, and those that are supernatural like the opening of the Red Sea. In his view, supernatural miracles exist so that we can recognize natural miracles.

For Judaism G-d is the force, the energy that drives nature, that’s why for the Ramban everything that happens is actually a miracle, because it is G-d who makes matter act in that way; either through a system or intervening directly on the system to show itself. When D-os breaks that operation that I create with time (nature) as it happens in the events of the Torah, it is to make evident that the system is only a system and that there is a force behind it that controls it. It is also the physical experience of Divinity.

The fact that this force manifests itself implies that at each moment there is a decision that the world should act in this way. In Judaism it is said that G-d judges man and the world every time he causes nature to take its course.

The promises on the rain

Another equally amazing element in the Torah as the miracles themselves are the promises G-d makes to the nation of Israel in the parasha (passage) of Bechukotai. In those verses G-d affirms that if the nation of Israel complies with the divine commands he will cause rain to fall from heaven and the earth will give its fruit. He also promises that if the nation of Israel does not comply with the commandments, the sky will close and no rain will fall. The reason these passages are so amazing is because, like miracles, they break the logic of nature. Nature dictates that material abundance occurs based on pre-established processes, not based on momentary intervention, much less based on human action.

However, what these passages indicate is that there is an interaction between man and G-d. Once again, the idea that everything that happens is a miracle is seen, since G-d, being the Creator and the one who manages nature, can intervene in it, and the Jewish position is that it does so as a way of teaching man. The passages as such express the Divine Judgment idea that every action is a decision of the Divine, giving man the reward he wants to give through natural means.

However, this interaction is also relative to man, it occurs only when he decides to cultivate a relationship with God; when he sees the unity that exists through matter, when he accepts that it is governed by God and seeks a teaching in natural events. When he does not do it, when he does not cultivate a relationship with Divinity, his actions are like those of the antelope, governed by the pre-established system under which the world was created (nature) and not under Divine Judgment as such. Because man himself is separating himself from the relationship with Divinity and therefore there is no way for him to acquire learning through matter, beyond nature itself.

divine presence

As for the prayer, it is the recognition of miracles precisely because we ask G-d to interfere in the world, this implies recognizing that the world is managed by G-d. Still, it is important to note that one is prohibited from asking for supernatural miracles; one must ask for inspiration, strength or guidance within the very reality that surrounds him. When we ask for rain we do not ask for a supernatural event, we ask that G-d give us his blessing and his reward within the same system that was created. Well, precisely in prayer is the recognition of our reality and G-d’s participation in it, without the need for us to seek to separate ourselves from it.


Finally the three elements: the miracle, the promises of G-d and the prayer are ways in which the Torah shows us that G-d interferes in the world. Each one is a different form of Divine intervention within the natural, although all three lead to the same recognition. Miracles do it by breaking the system to force man to recognize God through the system. While the promises and the prayer occur within the system itself.

In any case, its objective is that we can see G-d in our reality and that at all times we “walk with Him.” They also teach us that we have an impact within the world, since establishing a relationship shows that G-d cares about our actions and our reality changes based on how we behave.

Related article “Passover:What do they teach us? miracles according to Nachmanides’ commentary?”

How does the Ramban explain the miracles of the Torah?